Wednesday, January 27, 2010


There are lots of traditions in this world, some better left behind and some that I aspire to carry on. I've worked in plenty of shops where information was doled out as needed and even then with a jaundiced eye. I'm not so sure what there was to fear, but it never sat right with me.

The baluster turning has been around for hundreds of year, and no one turner gets to claim it as wholly their own, therefore, I believe that it belongs to all of us. The baluster that I turn is influenced by my favorite parts of Dave Sawyer and Curtis Buchanan's turnings with a bit of my own flavor thrown in. Dave has a lovely sense of the flow that a baluster should have and the intense thicks and thins of Curtis' leg are challenging to turn and add a visual spring to the chair.

But the tradition that I'm talking about is not about turning a leg, it's sharing the information. It's a much happier world to live in, period.

By visiting , you'll open a page on my web site with the full sized patterns. Just hit print and the patterns for my leg and armpost will print on 4 pages that can be physically cut and matched to make one pattern with the leg on one side and the post on the other.

Then go make some shavings and the next time someone asks you for some hard earned piece of information, remember, you're part of a tradition.


Christopher said...


Yet another reason why this virtual woodworking community has such promise. Thanks for including the info and raising the bar.


Peter Galbert said...

Thanks Chris,
Like I said, it wasn't my idea, I'm just trying to keep up!

Tracy said...


I e-mailed you a picture of one of my leg turnings a few weeks ago, hoping that you would lend a critical eye... you did more than I hoped... you sent me this exact pattern. I was astonished that you would be so generous! Like you say, many woodworkers have been a secretive lot holding dearly to "insider information". Thank you for breaking the mold! Your blog has been an invaluable source of information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Tracy Turner

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks Tracy,
I dare say that if my business hinged on keeping secrets, I'd find another business,
Happy turning,

Unknown said...


I'll add my appreciation as well for your willingness to share knowledge and insights with the rest of us. My chairmaking has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years - largely because of the coaching I've gotten through your blog and through emails. Thanks!

Steve in Kansas

Robert from Stow Oh said...

Hey Pete - as i mentioned in past posts your sharing of information is much appreciated. No matter what industry you are in their are still those that feel sharing of info relates to job security. I feel for those. Just think how we would all get along if we just shared info and openly communicated concerns.I fully agree with your comment to Tracy have a great day

Jim Leavenworth said...

Thanks for sharing! I taught myself balluster legs & have only done one chair's one to learn on. I love your turnings because they are much more agressive, especially with the thick versus thin parts. I need to learn to be a bit more agressive with my turnings. Will try these on my current Windsor...once the shop extension is finished, of course!

See you in Aug, Lord willing.


Tom Wheeler said...

I have read the other comments and really can't add much but a big thank you. I have watched the turning world evolve at the speed of technology in the last 20 years and I believe it is because the American Association of wood-turners set there mission to educate and share the "secrets". Not to mention the virtual turning community. I really enjoy your blog and have learned so much that i might even try making a chair on my own.
Thanks Tom

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks for the comments! It's great to get feedback, it inspires me to think "blog" while I'm working!

Dan Santos said...

Peter, Why do you differentiate between front and rear leg lengths at the turning stage?

Peter Galbert said...

Great question. The rear legs end up shorter in the final piece to create the tilt in the seat. By accounting for this in the turning stage, you avoid having the rear legs cut further up the taper than the front, which would result in them having a different sized end. It just looks a bit clunky to have the front legs smaller than the rear at the floor,

Herman Veenendaal said...

Peter, thank you for sharing these patterns, it is much appreciated.

One question, the diameter of the ball below the reel shows as
1 13/16" on the label, but when printed it comes out the same diameter as the vase, 2 ". The ball also appears to be the same diameter as the vase when viewing the pattern.

So, if I may ask, what is the correct diameter of the ball part of the turning?

Thank you,


Peter Galbert said...

Sorry for the delay, I was out of town. The lower detail is generally about 1/16th less that the diameter of the large vase. I hope this is clear!

money said...


The pattern link doesn't work...I was wondering if it is still available?